Colorado is the perfect place to visit if you’re seeking adventure. From hiking, to rock climbing, to whitewater rafting or mountain biking, everything is within your reach. And with only 5 days in the Denver area, you can get a lot of adventure in. Just keep reading to see how you can have the perfect Colorado itinerary!
The Logistics of Your Colorado Itinerary
Unless you’re roadtripping, you’ll most likely be flying into Denver International Airport. Flights within America aren’t cheap, so start searching early and often to grab a good deal.
If you don’t want to rent a car, you can take the train from the Airport to Denver Union Station for $9 each way. From there, you can access plentiful public transportation services to get you to your final destination. Check denver.org for more information.
Where to Stay
Although this Colorado itinerary will be taking you all around the Denver area (meaning that it might mean slightly less transportation time to change hotels every night), I highly suggest that you base yourself in or nearby Denver as a convenience. While I was in Colorado I stayed with a friend in Littleton, a suburb of Denver, and it was a great base for exploring the rest of the area.
How to Get Around
I highly suggest renting a car if at all possible while you’re in Colorado. Although it is theoretically possible to get around with public transport, it takes up much more time and could potentially be even more expensive than renting a car. This Colorado itinerary takes you all over the place (most places are a 1+ hour drive), so a car will make your life much, much easier.
Five Days in Colorado Itinerary
One Day in Boulder, Colorado
Start your time in Colorado off right by getting up bright and early and driving towards Boulder. There, you’ll get a real taste of everything that Colorado has to offer: from hiking, to excellent food and culture, to hippie tea. For more insight on a day in Boulder, check out my post about what I did.
Go Hiking in Eldorado Canyon State Park
Spend your morning just outside of Boulder at Eldorado Canyon State Park, popular with the locals for hiking. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, go for the strenuous Rattlesnake Gulch Trail, which climbs to the elevation of the Empire State Building and gives you amazing views over the continental divide.
Visit the Celestial Seasonings Factory
If you got an early start to your day (like I told you to 😉 ), then you should be able to make it for one of Celestial Seasonings’ factory tours with plenty of time to spare. While you’re there, learn all about how this famous herbal tea brand (and their tea) came to be, and try loads of free samples along the way. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free?
Enjoy Pearl Street
Finally, make your way back into downtown Boulder and waste away your evening on Pearl Street. Grab some dinner, go shopping, and enjoy the plentiful street performances. If you haven’t fallen in love with Boulder by the end of the day, you probably don’t have a soul.
One Day in Colorado Springs
Garden of the Gods
If you’re feeling exhausted after your first full day in Colorado, feel free to sleep in a bit this morning. Once you’re up and ready to go, head to Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs to check out the famous red rock formations. You’ll agree that they were put there by gods.
One thing you can’t miss while you’re there is the Perkins Central Garden Trail, which gets you up close and personal with the largest rocks in the Garden of the Gods. If you have more time, explore/hike the outer edges of the park.
For more information, check out my post about my time at Garden of the Gods.
Dinner and Exploring in Downtown Colorado Springs
Once you’ve gotten your fill of otherworldly rocks, head into downtown Colorado Springs. Explore the quaint old mining town and grab dinner at one of the restaurants in the vicinity.
Whitewater Rafting in Idaho Springs
Take a break from all the hiking in the middle of your five days in Colorado and go whitewater rafting! If you thought you’d had adventure yet, just wait. I highly suggest going with AVA Whitewater Rafting in Idaho Springs. Hear why in my post all about how I beat a little bit of my anxiety with them.
Explore Downtown Denver
You’ve spent most of your time in Colorado so far out in the wilderness loving all of the adventure that this state offers. Now, head into Denver (or stay where you are if that’s where you’ve based yourself) and explore the Mile High City. Walk down 16th Street Mall and play one of the beautiful pianos, go to a museum, and perhaps walk more than you did on any of your hikes in the days before. Oh, and be sure to grab yourself some Voodoo Doughnuts. You deserve it after all that hiking.
For even more ideas on what to do in Denver, check out this awesome local’s guide to Denver!
One Day in Estes Park
On your final day in Colorado, make your way to Estes Park for the best hiking yet — and a few ghosts.
Rocky Mountain National Park
Spend your morning experiencing Rocky Mountain National Park in all of its glory. If you’re a hiker, be sure to hike the Emerald Lake Trail to get a taste of everything that the park has to offer. From alpine lakes to snow topped peaks, you’ll be blown away at every turn.
For more information, check out my post about hiking the Emerald Lake Trail.
The Stanley Hotel
Do you believe in ghosts? If not, you’ll leave the Stanley Hotel a full blown believer. Best known as the hotel that inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, the ghost stories here are pretty crazy. If you’re brave, take their nighttime tour. Otherwise, go for the daytime history tour — you’ll get plenty of ghosts there as well. Just with more daylight.
For more information of the Stanley Hotel Ghost Tour check out my post on my visit.